Sweet Valley Twins #26: Taking Charge

The Moral of the Story: If you don’t let your kid play the sax, he might run away from home.

The Big Deal: Concert at the lake

Classmate with a Problem: Patrick Morris, crappy parents


Patrick Morris has the worst parents. They make him do homework! He’s not allowed to have snacks! He has a curfew! Jessica doesn’t know how he can survive. Patrick is sick one day so the twins bring him his homework after school. He’s allowed to have only one friend over at a time so there’s twin switch shenanigans when his mom comes home early from work. That Saturday, there’s a concert at Secca Lake. A high school band called The Wild Ones is putting on a show as a fundraiser to buy library books and all the kids are going to be there. When the twins stop by Patrick’s house to see if he wants to go, his mom is rude and weird.

Patrick wants to play the saxophone in the school band, but his parents won’t even let him try out and they won’t tell him why. The school gives him a saxophone to practice with and he convinces the twins to let him keep it at their house. He comes over to practice and drives everyone crazy, but his tryout is great and he makes the band. His parents still won’t let him join and they refuse to talk about it.

Jessica and Winston get paired up to do a science project together. Winston’s got a whole thing he wants to do with mold, so Jessica has to keep a bunch of pieces of moldy bread around the house and that’s gross. Their project gets chosen to be on display at the library on Saturday and Jessica promises Winston she’ll be there. But come on, we all know that’s a lie. There’s a football game and Bruce is having a party afterward, so of course Jessica won’t be going to the library. The party turns out to be just a bunch of guys playing football in the yard, so Jessica leaves. When she gets home, Liz tells her Patrick has disappeared.

Everyone is in a panic. Patrick’s parents come over to the Wakefields’ house with the cops, and Liz doesn’t hesitate to tell the police that Patrick has probably run away because he thinks his parents hate him. The next morning, Liz finds a note stuck in the back door. It says, “We have Patrick. Stop looking for him. If you don’t it could be very bad for him.” Well that’s certainly frightening, but Winston comes over and says Patrick’s hiding in the Egberts’ basement and he made Winston write the note.

The twins go to Winston’s house to try to talk some sense into Patrick, but he refuses to go home. He makes the twins promise not to tell anyone where he is. Liz wrestles with this promise for a while, but ends up telling her parents where Patrick is. Patrick knew this would happen, so he runs away to an abandoned church, where he falls through the floor and has to be rescued by his father, who ignores the policemen when they tell him not to go in there. After the rescue, Mr. Morris explains that he lost his job and that’s why he and Patrick’s mother have been so strict lately. But not to worry, he just landed another job! And Patrick explains that he can borrow a saxophone from school so it won’t cost anything for him to join the band! Yay!


“I’m not going to judge the way other people run their families, honey. It’s hard enough for parents to take care of their own kids.” Mrs. Wakefield yawned. “I’d like to lie down for a while before I start supper. Will you girls put the groceries away?”

I’m surprised she’s actually going to cook dinner for once instead of making the twins do it.

Patrick seemed not to have heard a word they said. “Today’s the day I should have been playing with the band,” he announced sadly.

The Cover: I don’t know what this is all about. I’m guessing that’s the abandoned church, but this doesn’t look like any scene from the book.

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  • PumpkinPastry April 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    It’s good to know that Liz actually knew it was alright to break a promise in certain circumstances. Obviously her priorities were better sorted when she was young.


  • Olivia April 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for this unexpected birthday gift. 🙂


  • pbellyup April 25, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Don’t ask me why but for some really strange reason (as a 12 year old) I liked this hairstyle Elizabeth had. I agree with Shannon, I also remember as a 12 year old trying to figure out what the heck that dilapidated building was in the background. Oh yeah, and why is Mrs. Wakefield always tired..more lazy to me!


  • pibetaalpha April 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    There are so many dilapidated houses and abandoned warehouses in Sweet Valley!


  • MV April 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    What is up with that figure in the window at the abandoned church? And why is Liz pointing at it all ominously like she’s the Ghost of Christmas Future? Totally weird cover!


  • Diana April 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Your recaps bring me joy. Thank you for having the wonderful patience to read them and share your snark with us. Not sure if your brain will be fried to cover SVU, but just know I look forward to your thoughs on anything Sweet Valley related!


  • Whallie April 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Totally weird cover but I think this is what’s happening on it. Liz is pointing to the Church and telling Patrick to get his ass back in there since that’s where he’s supposed to be hiding out in. LOL


  • Kim May 12, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Ha! I remember whiny old Patrick. This is the book that my 9 year old self slammed down on the table while I heaved “GOD, this series is STUPID.” I did read more of these turkeys after that, but with a way different perspective.


  • Lindsay May 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Liz has a wonky eye on that cover. And why is she ordering Patrick to go into that abandoned church


  • Natasha November 5, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Patrick was unbelievablely whiny. So he had strict parents. Boo hoo. And why did he have to hide his sax at the Wakefields? Why not in his locker and practise at school? He could have told his parents he was doing his science project with Julie after school and practice instead.

    And Jessica was so mean to Winston!


  • Natasha November 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    So I finished it and basically Patrick ran away because he didn’t get what he wanted. Stupid book


  • Jessica is Skanky August 8, 2017 at 3:09 am

    This book was so stupid. IF the parents had een hoest with Patrick, things would have been better for all of them. Jessica had always been mean to Winston. all she ever thinks aout is herself and bruce Patman. furthermore, what sort of parents do not want their child to play a musical instrument? They should have spoken to Patrick about his wantingto learn how to play the sax. Furthermore, he was restricted to three meals a day. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their kids do not go hungry. Furthermore, I think that there is a line in the book which states that Alice often came home tired after her part-time job as an interior designer. sometimes that woman is portrayed as being lazy. she has three kids and makes them do most of the housework. I am not saying that children should not do housework, but she often does not seem to be there for her children.


  • This series is very odd August 9, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Wouldn’t a child know if his father lost his job? He is 12 and the parents should have been honest with him and should have encouraged him to play in the band. Most of what was wrong in the book was that the lack of communication. The parents should have realised the importance of extracurricular activities. I often did three hours (or more) of homework a night because I was genuinely interested in most of my subjects. If parents push their children to do something and do not explain their motives, the children will resent the parents.


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